#MLBPlayers411: Billy Hamilton is stealing bases, fans' hearts

With 169 stolen bases in less than three full seasons -- including his four-steal game against the Pirates on Sunday that gave him a National League-best 43 -- Billy Hamilton has been refining the way he uses his unmatched speed.

Back at the top of the Reds' batting order in recent weeks, Hamilton's been in position to run more often, and he's only been caught six times this season, a far cry from the league-leading 23 times he was thrown out as a rookie in 2014.

"Now I'm trying to get in some curveball counts where you know they're going to pick the leg up," Hamilton told the Cincinnati Enquirer recently. "It's been a process, but I feel like I'm learning more."

For the center fielder from rural Collins, Mississippi, it's just part of the growing process as a Major Leaguer.

A standout athlete at Taylorsville High School, Hamilton played baseball, basketball and football. He excelled enough in football to receive a full scholarship to Mississippi State University. He also scored 54 points in a high school basketball game but ultimately chose to play professional baseball.

Hamilton was the king of sports at Taylorsville High, but his royalty wasn't confined to athletics. During his junior and senior years, Hamilton was also named Homecoming Prince and Homecoming King, respectively.

Outside of school, however, Hamilton led a more humble, country existence. Hamilton says he grew up picking peas and watermelons for local farmers in Mississippi, a state he never left until he was drafted by the Reds in the second round in 2009.

So now he's making up for lost time. He enjoys sight-seeing on road trips, especially in places like New York and Miami, cities where the pace is almost as fast as Hamilton.

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More from #MLBPlayers411:

  • Hamilton's favorite movies are White Men Can't Jump and Love and Basketball.
  • His Major League debut came on Sept. 3, 2013, as a pinch runner. He stole second base off Yadier Molina and eventually came around to score on a Todd Frazier double.
  • Puerto Rico is the most interesting place Hamilton has been. He loves the beaches and finds the entire island beautiful!
  • One of his highlights was meeting Muhammad Ali.
  • Hamilton considers himself a big kid -- he likes going to places like Dave & Buster's to play video games and enjoys going to Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio.